A Holistic Weight-loss Health Plan for Women
Author: Shashank Gautam
Nothing good comes easy for certain. Well, what is not necessarily certain is the inductive inference often drawn from it. That good must be hard. Well it doesn’t have to be. What makes any desired outcome appear hard is the entitlement to instant results with little or no regard for the process towards achieving the same. The only trick to success anywhere is getting started with the correct process and then staying with it. That’s it.
And this could not be truer when it comes to good health. Particularly so with weight- loss and good health. There is definitely no point achieving the former at the expense of the latter. Unfortunately, a whole lot of severe weight-loss programs out there unintendedly compromise health for quick results. For they approach weight-loss by way of extreme in-vogue diets or punitive exercise regimens. And the outcomes not surprisingly, don’t stay for long either while leaving your health utterly compromised.
It is therefore imperative to inculcate a holistic approach to good health where weight- loss becomes a natural and sustained outcome. This article is going to suggest a 360-degree health plan for women which creates the right mind-body foundation that quite naturally strives for and sustains a healthy body as an elemental prerequisite to good living.
What is being recommended here is a three-pronged approach that targets: Mind- Body-Diet to ensure an overall fit, toned and healthy body. Weight loss to the extent of health becomes inevitable in the process. The plan is suited for everyone- from those starting out anew to those already in the middle of a fitness routine to the more seasoned regulars.
The whole plan doesn’t require more than 45-50 minutes a day and some initial discipline for the first few weeks. The uniqueness of such an approach is that the three aspects of the plan within a very short time, start to serve as a feedback loop and reinforce each other quite organically.
Keeping the plan not too physically exhausting or time consuming is a matter of deliberate design. Since it is the resistance to getting started every day on a fitness session that one begins to dread, that most often comes in the way. And it is this aspect of a fitness program that makes all the difference between workout routines that stay episodic against those that end up becoming lifestyles.
So, here are the three parts to this Holistic Weight-loss Health Plan for women:
1) Pranayam Yoga | Overall Duration: 20 to 25 minutes | Morning 2) Bodyweight Exercises| Duration: 20-25 minutes | Evening 3) Intermittent Fasting | A new timetable for meals | Every day
1) Pranayam Yoga (Breathing Exercises): For the uninitiated, Pranayam is the ancient Yoga technique of controlling the ‘Prana’ (Vital life force) or Breath. These are essentially different breathing patterns and techniques that rejuvenate mind and body by way of harmonizing the various internal systems. The overall effects of Yoga are too profound and all-pervasive to be enumerated here. Even when done for a short time such as a week, one could begin to feel its therapeutic, calming and healing effects.
A regular practice of Pranayama would create the right body-mind aligned to the disciplines of a healthy way of being. This would ensure that the other two routines of this health plan are adhered to quite effortlessly.
Start your day with a set of Upa Yoga neck practices followed by a session of Pranayam. The neck region is considered extremely significant within the yogic energy systems as well as neurologically. This simple set of neck and shoulder blades movements though minimal in fashion have a phenomenal effect on one’s general wellbeing. They help cast away lethargy, improve alacrity and set one up for the day ahead.
• Upa Yoga | Duration: 4-5 minutes
The following are a set of 5 basic Pranayama that you should perform every morning on an empty stomach.
Pranayam| Duration: 15-18 minutes
Sit comfortably with a straight spine and your eyes closed in a quite surrounding:
• Natural Breathing: Observe your breath | Duration: 1 minute
• Bhastrika (Bellow’s Breath) | Duration: 1 minute
• Kapalabhati |Duration: 3-4 minutes
• Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nose Breathing) | Duration: 3-4 minutes
• Bhrahmari (Humming Bee Breath) |Duration: 1-2 minutes|
Give a gap of 45 seconds to 1 minute after each Pranayam. Go back to observing your natural breathing – in and out, during this while. After you finish the complete set, lie down totally relaxed with your legs and hands stretched out for a couple of minutes.
Pranayam could be performed at any time of the day so long as one maintains a 2- hour gap after the last meal.
Note: Pregnant women should consult their physician for Kapalbhati and Bhastrika.
2)Bodyweight exercises: This set targets the whole body for overall core, back, general muscle-strength and flexibility. If you are starting out new give yourself a few weeks to build up to the requisite numbers.
• Warm up: Surya Namaskar (3 Sets)
• Push-ups: 1 Set | Rep: 15-25
• Squats: 1 Set | Rep: 30-40
• Crunches: 1 Set | Rep: 25-35
• Plank: 1 Set | 1 minute
• Cool Down Stretches: 3 minutes
The whole routine doesn’t demand more than 20-25 minutes. Alternate with variations within each category on different days. For instance, wide or narrow grips for push-ups, different squat extensions, crunches with different inclines and so forth. There are plenty out there. Choose and mix them up. What is critical is sticking to a broad workout plan such as this that targets the whole body instead of parts on a daily basis and keeps up your overall fitness.
Once your body is warmed up, it is likely you would want to do more of each. Do more reps of each set if you feel up to it on some days. However as long as you stick to this basic bare minimum set, you shall be on track. Such a set alone is comprehensive enough to keep your body toned, flexible and in shape to a certain standard of health.
The fact that this regime is not back-breaking rigorous is its biggest secret. For that makes you sustain it as your everyday lifestyle. What makes regularity a challenge for most transformational fitness programs is most often its severity. For the regimen becomes too daunting for the mind and deters one from getting started with it every single time. Till eventually the initial enthusiasm peters out. And not much self-will remains to get going with yet another self-punishing session. So, it is essential to keep your workout regime not too severe or too long to ensure your mind is not petrified at the mere thought of it. So that you can get on with it every day. That is what will matter in the long run.
We now come to the third aspect of our health plan which perhaps has the most direct and immediate impact on weight-loss:
3) Intermittent Fasting (IF): The benefits of something that has been advocated and prescribed throughout cultures and across civilizations have finally been backed by modern science and medicine. Most metabolic experts now agree to IF’s superior efficacy in weight-loss. In fact, IF has increasingly been associated with other proven positive health effects such as anti-aging markers, detoxification of various biological systems among others.
Each body is different and would respond to IF differently. Therefore, an approach that allows your body to acclimate to the new circadian dietary cycle gradually is the way to go.
The rationale behind IF is simple. Beyond a threshold gap between two meals, our insulin levels go down, thereby restricting access of sugar to our cells to derive energy from and subsequently forcing our bodies to resort to obtaining energy by burning our fat. The time gap between meals for this metabolic state to kick in is about 14-16 hours.
Here is how one should approach IF:
• Eat your meals between say 10:00 am to 6:00 pm or 11:00 am to 7:00 pm or any such combination that works for you as long as you maintain a 14-hour gap between your last meal and the next.
• It is not as hard as it may appear since you would be sleeping through half of it.
• The only caveat is to avoid snacking or eating anything after your last meal for the day. Remember you have to deprive your cells of energy till they are forced to derive it from your fat cells.
• Start IF first with a 10-hour gap in between meals and gradually work it up to 14 hours over a 7-10 days period.
• Eat normally during meal times. Nothing extraordinary or drastic is required as long as you largely eat healthy. Don’t be too harsh on yourself and be reasonable in what you eat. Again, you should not embark on anything too restrictive that you won’t be able to sustain as a lifestyle.
The immediate benefits of IF such as getting rid of visible fat and looking youngish are quite manifest within the first fortnight or so. From then on, more pronounced outcomes and compliments alone would more than make up for any lack of personal motivation.
Note: Women who should not attempt IF without consulting their physician are-those suffering from eating disorders, anorexia, or those pregnant or breastfeeding.
The gradual nature of weight-loss could make most efforts seem futile in the beginning. Remember you never really noticed gaining all that fat ever either. The shedding of it is going to be as imperceptible.
It is superfluous to extol the benefits of this Holistic Weight-loss Health Plan in theory. The proof will be in the pudding. Yes, you don’t have to give up that. All that could be vouched for at this stage is that you stick with this holistic health program for a couple of weeks and it shall return the favor unlike those before and be with you from thereon. For this one has to by definition.